Thursday, March 5, 2009

Role Models DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Crass Comedy Pairing Slackers and Troubled Kids Comes to DVD

Director David Wain probably thought he had an inspired idea when he cast his crass comedy with some of the most famous faces from recent teensploits, including Seann William Scott, aka Stiffler from the American Pie franchise, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin from Superbad, Bobb’e J. Thompson aka Slam from Fred Claus, and blonde-of-the-moment Elizabeth Banks from Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Regrettably, here, this admittedly gifted ensemble has been assembled in service of a relentlessly coarse script which fails to do justice to any of their considerable talents. Instead of having them portray fresh characters, director Wain simply attempted to cash in on their former glory by having them reprise slight variations on their most celebrated roles.
At the point of departure, we find best friends Wheeler (Scott) and Danny (Paul Rudd) visiting junior high schools to lecture students about the danger of drugs as spokesmen for an energy drink. However, after they trash a company truck after a drunken binge, the pair ends up in court where they are sentenced to community service.
Although neither has any parenting skills, Danny is assigned Augie (Mintz-Plasse), a 16 year-old nerd who spends all his free time dressing up in medieval outfits to participate in Dungeon and Dragons-style re-enactments, while Wheeler must mentor Ronnie (Thompson), a 10 year-old ghetto-gangsta with a mouth more foul than his own.
Of course, both these slackers initially prove to be failures as role models, with Danny exhibiting no sensitivity about Augie’s obsessive compulsive disorder, and party animal Wheeler carelessly exposing Ronnie to sex, drugs and rock & roll. Hauled back into court, it falls to Danny’s attorney ex-girlfriend, Beth (Banks), to beg the judge for mercy and one last chance to behave like decent Big Brothers.
The second time around, they reform before the obligatory “happily ever after” finale, but far too late in this critic’s opinion to undo the overall mean-spirited tone of the film. An irresponsible frittering away of the cinematic capital amassed by Stiffler, McLovin and other beloved icons of the teen genre.

Fair (1 star)
Running time: 102 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, alternate takes, bloopers, director’s commentary, both the theatrical and an unrated versions of the film, and “The Making of” plus a couple of other featurettes.

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